Was Tinder’s tweet storm a planned PR stunt? Or was it from an emotionally devoted, yet slightly unhinged employee? The company is staying quiet about where the rant came from exactly, but said they are sticking behind it.
“We have a passionate team that truly believes in Tinder. While reading a recent Vanity Fair article about today’s dating culture, we were saddened to see that the article didn’t touch upon the positive experiences that the majority of our users encounter daily,” Tinder said in the statement. “Our intention was to highlight the many statistics and amazing stories that are sometimes left unpublished, and, in doing so, we overreacted.”
In her story published in Vanity Fair on Aug. 6, Sales used Tinder to showcase the “hook-up” culture and its alleged negative impact on dating and relationships in the digital age. Though the story did not explicitly focus on Tinder, a number of Sales' subjects were quoted detailing how they use the app for one-night-stands.
"The Vanity Fair story wasn't about them directly, but now Tinder owns the story," said Tadd Schwartz, president and CEO of Schwartz Media Strategies. "That's gold for them. Now it's time for them to put the media relations hat on and start telling their story in the media. Not everyone will agree with Vanity Fair."
Still, Tinder's Twitter rampage left many scratching their heads.
On Tuesday, it seemed like users were watching a disgruntled employee vent over some bad press. And yet, the structure and messaging in the tweets had the faint hint of a PR stunt.
As it turned out, Tinder may have planned the whole thing. BuzzFeed journalist Claudia Koerner said she was contacted by a PR rep with the company and was told to be on the lookout for a response.
@summeranne I in fact got a pitch from a PR person that Tinder was about to tweet storm, and I should watch for it.
— Claudia Koerner (@ClaudiaKoerner) August 12, 2015
It's worth remembering that Tinder is a business, and like any other business it wants to get its message seen by the most eyeballs. The tweet storm may have been just the avenue for the app to do that.
With the controversy over its posts garnering so much media attention, Tinder has been able to put its brand in front of a larger audience—namely the older crowd—as well as reinforcing their product among younger age groups.
"From a business standpoint, you want to align your entire campaign. Tinder's target demographic is the 18-24 set," said Schwartz. "They want to be that demographic. It sounded like an 18 or 19-year-old was spouting off during the twitter storm, which is gold for them. Now nobody's talking about other dating apps, and if you're older, now you've heard of Tinder and might check it out."